Quick and Easy Snacks

Standard

The sun is still shining here and for the end of May the days are surprisingly warm …. especially in our little sun trap.  So with the temperature outside being balmy for this time of year and the temperature inside being hot, due to babies needing to be fully undressed for massage, I thought that a cooler treat would be ideal last week.

SAM_1777

Making the most of the good weather …. walking up Hapuku River

These super easy treats came about, as many things do, through my resistance to pay for something that I was sure I could make at home.  That ‘give it a go’ mentally is definitely a kiwi trait I think, definitely a very strong trait of mine anyway, and combine that with a bit of frugal living and … well … you end up trying to create at home (making 45 of them) what would cost you $9 in the supermarket for just 10 balls.  Back then I named these little treats Snackerballs, after themselves telling me that they weren’t ‘Frooze balls’ ….. then low and behold a year or two later I see that ‘Snackaballs’ appeared on the shelves.  Obviously onto a good thing with the name back then, shame I didn’t trademark it 🙂

These are another ‘one pot wonder’ which you can whip up quickly and easily, adjusting them to your taste-buds pretty easily.  I just store them in the fridge so they can be made whenever and last for ages … if they aren’t gobbled up before that.  Over the years of making these we have tried lots of variations; adding different things like cranberries at Christmas, grated chocolate, nuts, seeds, carob and recently ground LSA (Linseed, Sunflower seeds and Almonds).  We found Healtheries LSA Superfruits , which is super yum, a while ago when making some apple crumble and I have to say that adding this did give the snackerballs a bit more firmness which I quite liked. Though it does have a bit of sugar added to it (in the blueberries for some reason) which some of you may what to avoid.  

Anyway here is the basic recipe I worked out and then the only limit is your imagination!

Snackerballs

  • 1 Cup dried dates
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 2 Cups desiccated Coconut
  • 3 Tablespoons black chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husks
  • 1 Tablespoon ground LSA (optional)

-Soak the dates in the water for 10-15 mins and then mash into a smooth paste – of course if you have a blender this is easier 🙂

-Stir in the other ingredients and mix until fully blended

-Shape the mixture into small balls (makes around 45 with this recipe) and put into a container.

-Refrigerate and enjoy

SAM_1761

Packed up and ready to go to class

Hope this finds you all enjoying tasty treats with your loved ones.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Advertisements

Paraoa Panana – Banana Bread

Standard

It is Infant Massage time again and that means bringing out the old favourites as well as a few new recipes to keep those parents nourished.  I love teaching the classes and seeing all the little ones soaking up good massage vibes as well as the parents enjoying my baking. It is definitely one of the best bits of my job ……. and as for themselves as they always get the left overs, so they think it is the best bit of my job too!

SAM_7631

Infant Massage in action last year

Last week was the first session and I decided to go for good old Banana Bread (Paraoa Panana in Māori).  This recipe is a repeat however it really is so easy and so yummy that it is worth bringing it to the foreground again 🙂  I found this particular little treasure in a free magazine from a local health shop a few years back and since our bus-hold (thinking this is our version of house-hold) love banana bread it has been a very well used recipe.

SAM_1661

A few pieces left over for themselves

It comes from a book by Daisy Dagg and Amber Vito called Kai for Kids eBook and while the original recipe had half honey and half maple syrup in it we have just replaced the honey with all Maple Syrup without much change to the flavour.  I’m sharing the gluten version this time however we have used GF flour with success in the past (see post from Feb last year) …. in fact the only reason I’m not baking it for the class with Gluten Free Flour is so that I won’t scoff all the left overs this time!! 😉

Paraoa Panana (or Vegan Banana Bread)

1 Cup Wholemeal flour

3/4 Cup self raising flour (or regular white then add 1 tsp baking powder to the recipe)

1/3 C melted coconut oil

1/2 C pure maple syrup

4 mashed bananas (large)

1/2 C shredded / desiccated coconut

2 Tb chia seeds

1/2 C rice milk (or other milk alternative)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • Melt coconut oil in a pot and stir in the maple syrup, rice milk, vanilla essence and mashed banana
  • Add in the chia seeds and stir well
  • Add in all the other dry ingredients and mix until blended well
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and bake at 180 Celsius for around 35-40 mins or until a cake-tester (skewer) comes out clean.
  • Cool and Enjoy 🙂

Hope this finds you surrounded by those who love and believe in you, enjoying the present moment and nibbling on something nice.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Nannan’s Mt Peel Chutney

Standard

Feijoa season is upon us here in NZ and we are consuming them by the dozen! They are one of my favourite fruit and one that until very recently you never saw in the supermarket which made it all the more special and tasty when they were in season.  One of the best things about them though is that there is never any doubt when they are ready as they fall when ripe and lay just waiting for you to come along and collect them.

SAM_1633

Monster Feijoas from a neighbour

However even I have limits of how much fresh feijoa I can consume, so when we were gifted a huge box of huge feijoas it was time to search out my chutney recipes.  I do have a great feijoa recipe (shared it a while back if you want an alternative) which is super easy however as I was searching for my paper copy of it I stumbled across a chutney recipe from my grandmother which looked like it might just hit the spot on this occassion.

The thing that really appealed to me however was the name (Mt Peel Chutney) as I just been doing a bit of research on the Māori name for Mt Somers, where our family originally settled, to add to my pepeha. for my next Māori lesson.  While they are different places they are in the same area, for those of you outside NZ, or Canterbury, Mt Somers is only about 40 min drive to Mt Peel, and our family worked, had land and lived all around that area.  So …… I’m guessing this recipe may just be a family one, as I couldn’t find anything online with same name. Well that’s my story now anyway and I’m sticking to it 😉

SAM_1635

Ready to bottle up

Below is the feijoa version of this chutney that I have made though the original recipe actually says 2lb fruit (just under a kg).  As feijoas are quite ‘juicy’ you’ll see that I have increased the amount of fruit to 1.5 kg just to give it a bit more chunk rather than liquid.  Being my usual, time efficient, self I simply top and tail the feijoa and roughly dice. Then once the mixture has boiled and softened I give it a quick mash to help blend it all.  I have also used coconut sugar for the first time, not because I think it is better than sugar (honey is out for the vegan’s on the bus) but because himself has decided he doesn’t want to eat refined sugarcane anymore ….. always keeping us on our toes that one!!

Anyway here it is and I’m sure you will be able to adapt it to your own kitchen supplies and preferences, just as I constantly do. 🙂

Nannan’s Mt Peel Chutney – Feijoa version

400 gm coconut sugar

500 gm raisins

750 ml white vinegar

1.5 kg feijoa (topped and tailed then diced)

4 cloves garlic

A few good grinds of salt

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Optional: If you like a really spicy chutney then add in some fresh chopped chilies

  • Boil fruit, sugar and vinegar together till soft and brown.
  • Give a quick mash or blend if you want a smoother chutney.
  • Take off the heat and add the seasonings. Stir well
  • Bottle and label.  Heat jars in the oven before hand to sterilize and avoid cracking with hot chutney.

See, couldn’t be easier …. just my kind of recipe!!  Hope this finds you relaxing and easing through life with joy.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

GF, Vegan Lasagne

Standard

The cold, wet weather has started, daylight savings has ended and the comfort foods are being sought out!  Himself has had a bit of a fascination with Garfield over the last year and we have been searching loads of charity shops for Garfield bits and pieces to help his need to create a ‘collection’ however one of the things that stands out in most of the books is Garfield’s love of lasagne.  This has brought up quite a lot of discussion as we had never had it … even when there were more meat eaters … and themselves have been left wondering what all the fuss is about.

Corrected garfield with words

 

Then the other week at a Maths Club shared meal lasagne (the meat version) appeared on the menu and herself finally got to sample it.  She was smitten and loads more discussion about why Garfield loved it so much occurred which then brought up the next question ‘how could create a GF, vegan version to suit the whole family?’.

We already had a ‘tince’ (tofu and onion mashed into a tomato sauce) which himself had created for his tince pie and then for our spaghetti tofunaise.  So it was really just working out how to get a good white sauce to create layers for a vegan lasagne after we spotted some gluten free and vegan lasagne sheets in the local supermarket.

We have made white sauces before however due to us mainly having rice milk in the bus the sauce has still been quite sweet. On our initial attempt we did try coconut and almond milk thinking this may help it be more savoury along with some nutritional yeast however it was still not quite right. In the end it was Soy milk that did the trick and gave us a good white/cheese sauce …… it has been a while since I tried ‘proper’ cheese sauce so I guess it is down to personal taste here though we did get our meat eaters approval so it can’t of been too far off!

Anyway the end result was a very comforting and filling meal which the whole whānau (family) …vegans and meat eaters alike …. enjoyed.  Below is the basic recipe we used however we have also layered in spinach leaves and/or other veg like grated carrot or courgette.  Whatever tickles your fancy and leaves you feeling satisfied will work with this easy recipe.  I’ve tried my best to give you accurate measurements of ingredients where I can however as you know (if you follow my blog) I’m a bit of an experimenter and a ‘chuck it in’ kind of cook …… so it gives you a chance to play 🙂

Vegan Lasagne

  • GF pasta sheets (or regular if this is a necessity)
  • Vegan cheese (we used Veesy Vegan cheese as it is a softens a bit more like melted cheese)

‘Meat’ section

  • Tofu (at least 300gm size block)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato paste
  • Powdered Veg stock or herbs
  • Mushroom (optional)

-Fry off the chopped onion, mushroom and garlic until soften

-Add in diced tofu and powdered veg stock and or herbs to flavour and stir as it cooks a little

– Add in enough tomato paste and water to cover the tofu and cook over a low heat briefly

-Turn off the heat and mash the tofu mix.

-Add more tomato paste and/or water if needed to create a good consistency for layering into the lasagne (not too dry and not too wet)

‘Cheese sauce’ section

-Melt the coconut oil and take off the heat to mix in the flour

-When the oil and flour are a smooth paste then add the milk and mix well (all off the heat)

– Stirring constantly put the sauce back on the heat and continue cooking, and stirring, until it thickens up.

-Take off the heat and add in the nutritional yeast and stir well.

-Add more soy milk, if you wish, to get the sauce to a good consistency, ensuring there is enough of it for all the layers.

SAM_1191 (2)

Ready to layer up

Putting it together section

  1. -Layer the bottom of an ovenproof dish with pasta
  2. -Cover the pasta with a layer of tofu mix
  3. -Cover the tofu with a few slices of cheese. You can also layer in your spinach etc here if you wish.
  4. -Cover the cheese with white sauce

-Repeat steps 1-4 until you get near the top of your ovenproof dish.

-Finish off with a layer pasta with tofu mix (or just tom paste if you’re running low of tofu mix) on top and slices of cheese at the very top.

-Bake in the oven for at around 30 mins at 180-200C

-Enjoy with salad or other veg as you wish 😉

sam_1198.jpg

Ready to eat

Hope this finds you enjoying warm, hearty meals with those you love.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Christmas Cake!

Standard

The sun is out here in Kaikōura and it is finally feeling like Christmas is on its way!!  So of course with Christmas comes the proverbial cake.  Last year we just missed out on having a cake as I didn’t think I had a recipe, then low and behold as I was sifting through the recipe book I came across this beauty.  I have actually had this recipe for a long time, since my sugar free time four years ago, without realising that it was actually vegan.  At the time it lost out to another recipe, as I was still eating eggs, only to be found the other month when I was searching for birthday cake recipes.

SAM_0673

Enjoying some pre Christmas sunshine …. homeschooling outside 🙂

Sadly, I can’t remember which book I got the recipe from all those years ago and I have altered it quite a bit over the couple of times I have baked it (both four years ago and now) so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly 🙂  I have halved the recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner.  As with many GF vegan recipes the sooner the munching is completed the better … we stretched it to three days to see what it was like with success though day three wasn’t as yum as day one and two’s munching 🙂

SAM_0650

Decorated and ready to go in the oven

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while I like simple and quick recipes. This one is a little out of the norm for me as it required cooking and mashing some kumara prior to mixing everything in one pot …. thankfully I survived the ordeal as it wasn’t quite as daunting as it seemed when I first read it 😉  I figure one extra dish for some yummy Christmas cake was worth the effort ….. at least once a year that is.  The almond essence and decoration definitely gave it that Christmassy look and taste while using the vanilla essence instead, and flagging the decoration, produced a good fruit cake for any occasion.

SAM_0655

 …. now for the munching to begin

So here is it for you to play around with and enjoy over this festive season and beyond ….

A Merry Vegan Christmas Cake

1 Tb maple syrup

250 gm of raisins or sultanas

1 Cup of water

1 small apple (peeled and grated)

62 gms chopped almonds – or in my case bashed almonds 😉

1/2 cup of mashed kumara (doesn’t matter if it is cold or warm)

1.5 Tb olive oil

1 tsp almond essence (vanilla also works fine if you just want a fruit cake)

3/4 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup buckwheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

extra almonds to decorate – optional

  • Bring maple syrup, fruit and water to the boil in a large pot then remove from the heat.
  • Add apple, bashed almonds, kumara, essence along with oil and mix well.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well again.
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and gently press in extra almonds to decorate.
  • Bake at 160 C for 45 mins and then leave to cool in the oven for the next 15-20 mins before placing on a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy.
SAM_0653

Even got a thumbs up from the non-vegan among us!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas/Holiday season enjoying the good things life has given you and remembering lots of special memories.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Elder-flower Treats

Standard

Hello again …. I know it has been a long time since I last wrote.  Life has well and truly had me by the ‘short and curlies’ – as my Mum would say 😉 – and I’m only just starting to feel like I’m getting back on track.  At the start of October my Mum passed away, in her home just as she always wanted, and since then just getting through the basics of each day has been the focus.  Grief is a strange beast that is for sure!!

SAM_0439

Mt Fyffe treating us to a surprise sprinkle of snow in Summer

Our plans needed to dramatically alter as a consequence of Mum’s death and though it was a shock to absorb all the changes it has also brought some unexpected pleasures.  Instead of still being in the North Island we are now back in the Kaikōura (South Island) and the way we have been welcomed back has been a real tonic for the soul.  Themselves have also been given opportunities to care for animals here, build with the Community shed and re-unit with friends through local groups while I have already been asked about running more Infant Massage courses … Yay!  Our arrival also coincided with the all the overgrown and wild Elderberry flowering which lead us to do a little experimenting.

SAM_0438

Preparing the mixture

We don’t really get Elderberry growing as well in the North Island so while I had heard that you could turn the flowers into fritters I was yet to try it. After a bit of research on which parts actually are edible, themselves went on a huge flower forage and we began to create.  While pictures on most of the blogs for elderflower fritters make it look like you can eat the stems of the flowers in the recipe it is only the flowers that are safe as the stem, if too much is consumed, will create a bit of nausea.

The recipe I have below is pretty much our pikelet/pancake recipe (vegan style) with the flowers added in.  Using another recipe as a guideline for any other vital ingredients I may need we added a little bit of icing sugar however the pollen is super sweet so unless you have a very sweet tooth you probably won’t need to add it. We tried this recipe two different ways; doughnut style (spoonful dropped in hot oil) and pikelet style (spoonful dropped in hot pan). The doughnut style were definitely the favourite of themselves, evidence by the lack of photos as they scoffed them before I could clean up and get the camera! However I opted for the pikelet style as the repeat recipe  …. less greasy and less cleaning up too 🙂  Sorry if this is a little late for the elderberry flowers blooming in your neck of the woods but hopefully you can remember it for next year 🙂

SAM_0440

Half way there

Elderberry treats

1 Cup GF flour (I used Edmonds ‘ready mix’)

1 Cup Rice milk or sim

1 Tb olive oil

1 Tb water

2 tsp baking powder

1 Tb icing sugar (optional)

1 cup of elderberry flowers (just the flower heads not the green stalks)

  • Mix everything until a smooth paste is achieved
  • Heat a pan then place spoonfuls into the hot pan.
  • Wait of the top of the pikelet to ‘bubble’ then flip to cook the underside.
  • Enjoy by themselves or with your favourite topping
  • If you want the doughnut style then drop small spoonfuls of the batter into hot oil and wait until they are golden before removing. Drain very well before eating … if people can wait that long 🙂

Until next time, when (fingers crossed) I’ll be sharing a Vegan/GF christmas Cake that I’m trying out, I hope this finds you surrounded by those you love and making the most of them.

Arohanui

Y

Late Easter treat

Standard

Well I had intended posting this in time for you to try for Easter however then my youngest broke his wrist and we were out of coverage for three days as we travelled along the Forgotten Highway.  I figure that it is better late than never and since these are yum anytime it is worth sharing still 😉  In fact they have been made quite a few times since as an afternoon tea snack for the walking wounded among us.

SAM_7949

Driving from Taumarunui to The Republic of Whangamomona

With Good Friday comes Hot Cross buns of course however since this is the first Easter we have Vegans in the house (bus) we had to put a bit of thought into the whole process. Thankfully themselves had a simple, yet effective, solution of adding some spices and raisins to our damper recipe to create our own Hot Cross buns.  I have to say that the cross side of things didn’t work out so well though as I was trying to be tricky and do icing sugar crosses – on the recommendation of a lovely Canuk I know 😉 – rather than my usual flour ones which ended in a sticky bun soaked mess rather than looking like a cross …. so I guess it is a case of less of the cross buns and more hot spiced buns really 😉

SAM_7977

Good to go with a huge dollop of jam!

We have tried both Gluten and Gluten free versions, topped with jam and some vegan Dark Chocolate peanut butter we found, and both have been enjoyed. The GF version did need a flax egg (1 Tb ground linseed and 1.5 Tb cold water) along with bit of extra moisture, depending on which GF flour you use, to get the correct consistency however it is not too much more hassle.

Hot Spiced Buns – Vegan

1 3/4 Cup of plain flour ( or GF flour and see notes above)

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tb oil

3/4 cup of cold water

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins (or other dried fruit if you like)

  • Mix all ingredients until they form a dough, add more flour and/or liquid as required.
  • Split the dough into 8 pieces and roll into bun shapes
  • Flour a tin and place the bun shapes in so that they are touching.
  • Bake at 200 C for 20 mins.
  • Remove from the oven and enjoy with jam 😉

 

Hope this finds you all happy, healthy and all in one piece 😉

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz